How to: Ginger Mint Julep

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With the dog days of summer finally upon us, bbq-ing, dinner el fresco and drinks on the patio become the everyday. While Vancouver is most famous for it’s rain, a well kept secret is how glorious our summers can be. This year is no exception and we have had a remarkably early start so I have been making the most of eating out in the garden.

With Deighton Cup just around the corner (a fundraiser with a 1920’s Derby theme held at our Horse racing stadium) I got inspired to break out my silver julep cups and serve up some Ginger Mint Juleps – like the traditional but with a twist.

Don’t be put off by the simple syrup part of this little DIY – it’s dead simple and once you start making your own simple syrups you won’t look back! It also add another layer of personality to the cocktail.

So, without further ado, here’s my take on a Mint Julep… the Ginger Mint Julep.

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Step one is our simple syrup. for this you will need: sugar, water, small piece of fresh ginger and handful of mint.

For this cocktail (and most retro style libations), you need to make a simple syrup. All this means is that you will take ½ cup of sugar and ½ cup of water and bring this to a soft, low boil until you have dissolved the sugar. That’s it. Done.

Remove from heat and voila! Simple syrup.

However, for our Ginger Mint Julep, we are going to infuse this simple syrup – with ginger.

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Peel and slice a 1inch piece of ginger into about 3 slices and place them into the simple syrup to just sit and do it’s thing. You will also be adding a handful of mint leaves. That’s it. The mint and ginger should sit in the warm syrup for at least 2 hours to infuse – so I sometimes make my syrups the night before or morning of to get them out of the way. Place in fridge and your syrup is good for a week (if it lasts that long).

When you are ready to make this cocktail, get your simple syrup and remove the mint leaves (now wilted and brown – don’t worry it’s normal!) and the slices of ginger. Fish it all out and squeeze so you don’t lose your simple syrup. You can strain it if you want but it’s pretty simple with the large bits to just scoop them out.

Now, let’s make this drink!

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What you need:

You will need an old fashioned glass (I have mint julep glasses because I’m fancy that way, but you could serve this short in the old fashioned glass, or tall in a juice glass, it’s all personal preference and what you have on hand).

Bourbon you like (I use Bulleit as it’s my fave)

Ice

Fresh mint

Ginger beer (not ginger ale – you want that strong ginger flavor for this cocktail)

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Step 1. Add ice into your glass

Step 2. A tablespoon of your simple syrup (you can do less – it’s all a taste thing. Experiment!)

Step 3. Bourbon in next – most cocktails are an ounce, feel free to do less as it can be pretty potent.

Step 4. Fill with your Ginger Beer

Step 5. Garnish with mint

That’s it!

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A traditional Mint Julep would have you crushing the mint (like a caipirinha), but the infused simple syrup gives you the mint flavor without the green sludge at the bottom of your glass. Cheers to summer and a day at the races!